Is it just me or does anybody else have a hard time letting go of the things you want so badly in life and simply "letting in" the reality that seems to be knocking at your door?
My whole life I've desired things for my future self; things that can only be described as petty, materialistic, and selfish: a big house, nice car, beautiful clothes, expensive vacations in the Caribbean and Europe, etc. I've lived for this future...believed in this future. Not to say that any of these things are bad to long for but why is it so important that these "things" be obtained? And why do these things seem to determine our stature and success in life?
I think that a lot of us share this "American Dream" because that's what we are subconsciously taught to desire. We are told to go to school, get a college degree, get a good corporate job and work as hard as you can so that you can buy yourself all of life's "necessities." Does that sound familiar to anyone? Even if we aren't necessarily told it...we watch it happen all the time, until all the sudden we are practically desiring it for ourselves as well.
I've come to grips with this reality more and more as I've gotten older; the reality that simply states that nothing in life is going to just be handed to you. You see...my whole life I naively figured that a life of luxury would somehow just land in my lap. Now, I didn't believe I was going to "marry rich" nor did I desire that (I mean if it happened I wouldn't be complaining either) but for some reason I thought gaining success would be easy and that the money would just flow in like crazy. We can all assume that I learned that lesson hard and fast.
Growing up...my dad worked his BUTT off to provide for our family. He traveled endlessly, spent hour upon hour building relationships with his clients, and never did I ever hear him complain. The best part is, he was always there for dinner in the evenings, bike rides on the weekends, and practically every sporting event his girls participated in (he even showed up at my school plays...commitment). Now, I never had those special name-brand clothes or drove an expensive car...but I had a lot. I was given a lot, I received a lot, and I expected a lot as well. I'm not saying that I didn't deserve all the things I was given, but at the same time, I was given a lot of undeserved things (if that makes sense).
I saw how hard my father worked, at times it was frustrating to me. But yet I expected to go on that exotic spring break trip, and I anticipated that my gas was paid for at the end of the day. You see, I never saw past my own circumstances...and because of it I began to EXPECT a lot.
Let me interrupt for a second and say that as I write this, I have a pit at the bottom of my stomach urging me to shut this blog down. How could you have been this person? How could you have been so selfish and self absorbed? But the truth is...I was this person and I still struggle with this person. I have selfish desires, I have self absorbed goals...but I also have Jesus and His grace covers me. So here I am laying it before His feet and for the world to see to show that I am not perfect and I do not have all my "stuff" together. I am a woman navigating the path laid before me...so again I ask for your grace.
So here I am...23 years old; I'm a college graduate with All-American Honors, and the Lord called me to stay at home with my daughter and son (and the hopefully many more to come). Some look at me with despise when I tell them I stay at home full-time, some look at me in disgust. In all honesty, sometimes I look at working moms in despise, and sometimes I look at them in disgust. The point is, we all want what we can't have right? We all desire to be something or someone that is a better version of the self that we already are. We feel that if we just had that nice house with the fenced in backyard and extra bedroom that we would be happy. But would we?
This is the situation that I am currently learning from.
I have this picture perfect idea in my head of what my life should look like and the steps that we need to take (as a family) to get there. You see...I often times don't have a great picture of what the end goal should look like but I have a pretty good idea of what the transitional steps should look like. I'm a person that lives for transitions (if that makes any sense at all). I look at a situation and say, "Ok, now we need to do A, B, and C to get to D, E, and F...." and I'd say that I'm pretty good at transitions. I am however NOT saying that I am good with change (there is a big difference).
Let me give you all a little example:
Recently, we found out we were having a baby right? We were thrilled, undone, and overjoyed at the growth of our family. Yet, the minute I heard about this new addition I began to picture in my head where we needed to be, and the things that needed to be done before baby Kirby #2 made his appearance. I started visualizing in my head the transitions that needed to happen in our lives before this baby came into the picture and before I knew it, I was consumed with thoughts of what I wanted for this family instead of what our family actually needed. I'm not saying that it's bad to plan, but what I struggled with was this notion that we had follow a specific plan and transitional period in order for our family to thrive.
We currently live in an outstanding 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo, with a pool, a park, a garage, a patio, and an amazing community. Not to mention, we are seconds away from a grocery store, minutes away from our friends, and surrounded by family that love to visit us. What more could we need right? We have been blessed in more ways than I can even begin to explain, yet...something inside of me told me that we needed more. I began to believe that this second baby was going to take up the entirety of our existing home and that there would be no room for the rest of us (which can happen with all the swings, bouncers, and cribs don't get me wrong). Unbeknownst to my husband I began looking for a home with three bedrooms, 2 full baths, a fenced in backyard, eat-in kitchen, play room, 2 car garage, nice neighborhood, and a great location. As I continued my search I found myself leaving little room for compromise, especially when it came down to my husbands thoughts on the matter.
Who cares if it's going to cost us close to triple what we are already paying in rent, utilities, and LUXURIES! Who cares if we spread ourselves thin...at least we'll have all that we "need" right?
And so I ran in search of something better, something bigger, something more "suitable" to our needs and in the process, I left out the actual needs of our family. I began to picture this false reality that I thought was going to complete our family when in truth we already had everything we needed. We had MORE!
My sweet husband longed to invest into my (wacky) vision because all he ever wants is to see me happy and so he came house hunting with me (even though all we can afford to do at this point is rent), poured his time and energy into this dream with me. Yet at the end of the day...we still had to deal with the same reality:
He is an entrepreneur, growing his real estate business with little to no income each month. I am a stay at home mom, pouring my heart and soul into our daughter and giving whatever else I have left to my own health business.
We are young, naive, inexperienced, and blessed to be debt free. So why did I feel the rush to accumulate more?
This house hunting search went on from about the month of April till....last week when I finally began to "let go" and "let in" our true reality. No, my "ah-ha" moment didn't come because my husband told me I couldn't have any of these things, he never killed the dream that I longed to live...in fact he endorsed it, was willing to give his everything just so that I could have it. My "ah-ha" came while walking the dog last week (pretty epic right?) and watching Rozalyn run ahead of me. It was as if in that moment the Lord removed the blinders from my eyes and allowed me to see the BIG picture.
"Look what you have already Tessa. Look what I have given you. Stay in this place a while longer and I will give you your hearts desire. Stop looking at what you think you need during this time and start focusing on all that you already have. You can make this work. You are capable. You are strong. Give this up to me and allow me to intervene on behalf of your needs." said the Lord as I soaked in the amazing sunlight and watched as Rozalyn trotted so elegantly before me.
It was like, in that moment everything was completely clear...crystal clear. I finally saw life for what it truly was and forgot about all that I thought I needed. It all made sense to me. How could I have pictured myself anywhere else than where I am right now? I am blessed. I am beyond blessed. I have all that I truly need right in front of me and I AM satisfied.
This conviction hit me hard and I couldn't wait for Guy to get home so I could tell him about the revelation the Father had given me. I can't explain to you the look of relief on his face when I practically shouted out, "God told me we need to stay here." It was almost like everything that he had been silently praying for and believing in had come to pass and finally his voice had been heard. He didn't have to say, "I told you so," or "wow that took you long enough to figure out!" He simply asked..."so how can I make this work for you?" It was in that moment that the Lord affirmed to me that we had made the right decision.
You see...we probably could have moved. Had more space, more rooms, and more luxuries. We could have accomplished this "dream" of mine but how long would it have lasted? Would I have remained truly happy because I had finally accumulated all these things that I thought we needed? I don't know the answer to that but what I do know is that the Father has a perfect plan for us, He knows our needs and He knows our desires...He cherishes them. But He also has the most perfect timing in the world...after all He is our Creator.
So what did I learn from this...what did I gain during this experience?
I'll tell you this much, I learned first and foremost that my plan is not my own plan; His design for our lives is always so much grander than we could ever imagine. Second, I learned that although it's good to have dreams and goals for your life, sometimes the dreams and goals that the Father has for you are much different than what society expects them to be. And lastly, I learned that it often takes a whole lot of pride swallowing and letting go of our own, man-made plans in order to fully receive the reality to which the Father is calling us to walk in.
"If you say go, we will go. If you say wait, we will wait. If you say step out on the water and they say it can't be done, we'll fix our eyes on you and we will go. For your ways are higher than our ways, and the plans that you have laid are good and true."
What plans have you made in your own life that you need to let go of and give to God? Ask Him...I guarantee He will answer. It is my prayer that by sharing my life and the trials and triumphs that I often face that you may feel encouraged and know that you are not alone. We all deal with "stuff" in our life...big or small...it's still significant and I hope that by reading this ever so amateur written blog that you would see that first hand. God loves to deal with our "stuff."
**Thanks for tuning in friends! Please pray for me this week as we begin the amazing adventure of potty training! Woo hoo! Cheers to a crazed, cabin-fevered momma, who wants to pull her hair out! Wish me luck!!!